Me: So, I know this is really late, but school got really hectic, and it was just too much when mixed with a bit of a family emergency, so I had to come home, and then I had to spend two months looking for a job, and then I ended up getting two in the same day, and just a little while ago, I had a bit of an accident while working in the garage and accidentally cut off my right thumb. I'm not joking. Thankfully, it was the dead of winter, and we were able to get it on ice and safely reattached. I can't use it yet cause it's so heavily bandaged, but my doctor told me it should be fully functional once the skin's healed up. So yeah…I've been super busy.

Logan: Great, your torture has ended, and now mine resumes.

Me: Why so snarky, sparky?

Logan: Oh, I don't know, maybe because you're about to put my heart through more hell!

Me: Oh come on, the beginning of the worst is over!

Logan: Beginning of the-, wait what?!

Me: Aren't I awful?

Carlos: Yeah, you're pretty cruel.

James: Says the guy who's getting the guy of his dreams, and that guy's boyfriend.

Kendall: Who says he's getting me?

Me: You two kissed…a lot. It's kind of obvious.

CK: ….

James: What about me? Nobody's really showing me love!

Javi: What 'bout me, Daddy?

James: Oh, sweetheart, that's not exactly what-

Me: Before we start giving Javi "The Talk," I need somebody to do the disclaimer!

Javi: He don' own anyting!


I Thought You Were On My Side

Logan POV

I remember the conversation we had with James after my aunt and uncle were arrested with disturbing clarity. It wasn't horrifying, scary, or mentally scarring in any way. I just remember it really well. Whenever I think of it, it's almost like I'm watching it happen on a screen. I'm still not sure why. I just know that we learned a lot from James that day. Some things, I wish we hadn't.

After we had agreed to the conversation, we all just sat there awkwardly for a while. I knew we all had questions, but I wasn't sure any of us knew how to broach the subject. I think we were all ready to just give up and go do whatever we all planned to do, when Kendall lost it.

"Cripes, somebody just say something already! All this awkward sitting around is stressing me out!" He got up to leave, but before I could comfort him, Carlos was already all over it. He stood up and got in front of Kendall, holding both sides of his face gently, standing on his tiptoes to press their foreheads together.

"Shhh, just breathe, Kendall. I'm right here." Instead of Kendall snapping at Carlos like I expected, he held Carlos' face too, actually calming down. What the heck? Even I couldn't calm Kendall down when he got stressed or angry! How Carlos managed it, especially when they were fighting over me, I had no clue. "There you go, Kenny. Just relax."

"Thank you, Carlos. Thank you so much." To the horror of everyone around, except James, which didn't surprise me somehow, and my heartbreak, Kendall gave Carlos a small kiss. It was brief, and very gentle, but intimate. And it hurt me.

But before I could react stupidly, a thought occurred to me. What right did I have to be outraged by the kiss? I had cheated on Kendall not once, but twice in the same day. Whatever Kendall did then, I deserved it. But I couldn't hold back the choked sob that managed to escape my lips. Nobody heard it except James, who was immediately by my side, Javi clutched to his chest.

"I'll explain why that happened too, alright, Akayo? He's not trying to hurt you by it, I promise." I nodded, not trusting my voice. I didn't realize I was crying until Javi touched my cheek with his hand.

"Why you cwyin' Wogie? Awe you huwt?"

"It's hard to explain, Javi-Bo. Things are just very hard for Logan right now." Although unsatisfied with the answer, Javi accepted it.

"Okay, Daddy. If it hewps you Wogie, I wuv you." I giggled a little and kissed his cheek.

"Thank you, Javi." I risked a glance over to Kendall and Carlos, who were wrapped in a tight embrace, Kendall's cheek resting on Carlos' head. "At least somebody does…"

"Alright, enough of all this romantic stuff! I want to know why my son has wings, why everyone is making out with everybody else, and what exactly you're planning to do now that you've found your Prince. Start explaining, Mr. James, if that's even your real name!" I really wasn't surprised that Papi snapped like that. He never was the most subtle of men. Obviously, it's something he had passed on to Carlos. He was about as subtle as a rampaging rhino.

"Well, if our humans would kindly join the rest of their family, I'll get right on it." James had taken Javi back to their seat, stroking his unofficial son's back. As late as it was, Javi was still wide awake, which is never too good for a boy his age. Even more so for a boy that had been suffering from abuse.

That still shocked me to my core. I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that Javi, sweet little Javi, was being abused and neglected by his own parents! Granted, I didn't see Javi as often as some of the others in the family, but he was always well behaved. Sure, little kids always try to behave better when they're not at home, but we were family. I think he'd act relatively the same around us as he did at home, maybe even happier and more relaxed since he didn't have to worry about punishment.

At least, not immediately after his supposed 'misbehavior'.

I suppressed a shudder at the thought as Kendall took his seat next to me, with Carlos next to him. I tried my best to ignore the awful piercing pain in my heart seeing Carlos reach out and take Kendall's hand, soothingly rubbing his thumb against the back of my boyfriend's hand. Instead, I looked over the table at Jame-, er, Moya, trying to silently ask him for reassurance. And somehow, the gentle, patient smile he gave me helped.

"Okay. I know this whole situation is confusing, and the dramatics of our little love affairs certainly didn't simplify matters. Please, ask any questions you might have, and I will do my utmost to answer suitably, should it be within my rights." I couldn't help but wonder if Moya spoke English as a secondary language, or if he was just very polite. He spoke so properly and correctly. Not that I was complaining, it was always refreshing to hear someone speak without some of the modern slang that everyone was so fond of.

"What do you mean, 'within your rights', dear?" Sweet Mama, always trying to avoid upsetting anyone. Still, her little pet names made everyone feel at ease around her. She was just naturally motherly, and it showed. Although, I couldn't help but agree with her question.

"There are some secrets of my people that I am not allowed to disclose without express permission from my Kings. We do not try to be a secretive people, but I'm sure you can agree that there are some things others just do not need to concern themselves with. But if you should ask such a question, I assure you, I will ask my Kings to allow either I or someone else to inform you. After all, not only have you raised our young Prince into a fine young man," he paused for a moment, turning and winking in my direction. I couldn't help but blush like a schoolgirl. "-but you are also the parents of his Mark. As such, you are entitled to know more about our society than others, and might even be allowed into our great city in the sky."

"What?! But I thought humans weren't allowed there under any circumstances!" Leave it to Carlos to be the first to ask a question about his favorite obsession.

"There are only a few exceptions. Obviously, Marks are allowed, seeing as they are members of Mated Families. And the parents and siblings of a Mark are allowed, but only with an escort. Then, there are those who perform a great service to our people, such as saving a stranded Aviad, or, as is the case with Logan, raising an orphaned Aviad until their Inheritance. And, of course, there are political associates that we have dealings with, but they are escorted directly to the government building, and are not allowed views of the rest of our city. Each guest has different levels of clearance. Seeing as you two are family members of a Mark, and you saved one of us, you shall be granted access to everything, except the Kings' bedroom and the Temple." Made sense to me. Actually, it seemed like the most logical thing I'd heard all day, which is just a little sad, thinking about it like that.

"Okay, so we get to go to some city in the sky. Great, sky cities and flying people. What's life coming to?" I think we all rolled our eyes at Papi. Always melodramatic and over-the-top. And the funniest part was, he didn't act that way to lighten the mood. He really just reacted like that.

"I tink it's essiting! I get to go lib wid Daddy in duh clouds!" Javi started bouncing with excitement. James hugged him a little tighter, half out of love, half trying to keep him still. Carlos gently squeezed Kendall's hand, making him smile at my brother. It hurt to see the three men who are supposed to be in love with me happy without even acknowledging me. I could feel my wings droop a little.

"Um, I'm sorry, but I'm still confused about all these things you keep talking about. Could you maybe just explain from the beginning? You came here looking for the Prince, but how did you know where to look?" Mama asked. I had taken for granted that I was, mostly, up to speed on things, but I completely forgot my parents didn't really know anything.

"Of course. Well, for proper introductions, my name is Moya Stirmchuil. Among humans, I am known as James Diamond, a name given to me by a man I rescued who believed my teeth to be made of diamonds because of the way they shine. I am the First Guard of my people. This means that I am meant to be the Crowned Prince's chief protector, mentor, and lover. Do you follow?" Mama nodded. "Now, I am Logan's Mate. A Mate is our Aviad Soulmate."

"Well, how do you know? You can't possibly guess out of the billions and trillions of people out there, can you?" Papi crossed his arms, clearly not pleased with where this conversation was going.

"Aviads are much more primal than humans in some ways. Our 'beast sides' are more dominant than our 'human sides' in certain aspects of our lives. Foremost among them is the matter of Mated Families. Our inner creatures are able to recognize those that can give us the best children. Now, that's just on an instinctual level. Mixed with our higher cognitive functions, we feel a literal attraction to them, like a magnet. This is known as the Pull. We don't feel the full effects of the Pull until our Mates and Marks are of mating age, when they come into their Inheritance on their sixteenth birthday. Before this, we merely have the feeling that we should be around them, like a close friend. On their birthday, the Pull takes full effect, and a look in their eyes cements the Bond."

"Why?" Kendall broke in. "Why do you have to have eye contact? Why can't you just see them and, boom, you know?"

"Because the eyes are the windows to the soul." Surprisingly, the answer didn't come from James, but from Mama. I gave her a questioning look, wondering how she could possibly know. "A young Aviad told that to me when I was in school. I've never forgotten that, or him." James was obviously intrigued

"You've met one of us before?" She nodded. "Might I ask, did you happen to learn his name? Few of us venture to earth, beyond the members of the Guard."

"I did, actually. He told me to call him Dana."


Carlos POV

James was quiet for a minute. He had his head down, like he was thinking, so I wasn't sure what he was about to do. When his shoulders started shaking, I thought, maybe, he might be crying, but then he threw his head back, and laughed. It was deep, very genuine. You could tell it came from his gut. Of course, when he started laughing, it made Javi giggle. Thankfully, that lowered the tension levels, and I could feel that we all started relaxing some.

"You're the girl in his famous story! Oh, he loves to tell it to us. He never tires of repeating the tale of the little human girl who thought to marry him as thanks for saving her cat!" I was kinda dumbstruck. That didn't sound like Mama. But one look at her face said that it really was her. James eventually calmed himself enough to wipe the tears from his eyes. "I was still a hatchling when that happened. I had only had my wings for twenty six years when he flew home in a panic, searching for his Mate."

Wait…..what?

"Did you say twenty six years?" Papi asked. "You don't look a day over seventeen. Just how old are you, anyhow?" James got this smug look on his face. Was he waiting for someone to ask that question?

"I am 94 years old as of last month." I plugged my ears before their drums could be blown to smithereens.

Yep…he was waiting for it.

"94 YEARS OLD?!" Papi screamed. "YOU NASTY, DISGUSTING, SLIMY PEDOPHILE! I OUGHTA ARREST YOU RIGHT HERE AND NOW, WHETHER OR NOT YOU-"

"No! No' my daddy!" Javi was panicked, already looking teary, with a little snot running from his nose. "I don' wan' daddy to go to j-ja-jail!" Here came the waterworks. Next to me, Kendall looked decidedly awkward. I would too if I was at his house and his little, abused cousin was clinging desperately to some strange man who he had just decided was his new Father that very same day. Who wouldn't?

"Why don't I just take him upstairs to cool down? You boys are the ones who really need to talk right now." With lots of tugging, pushing, and what I still think were whispered promises of sex, Mama was able to get Papi out of the room and upstairs, leaving the four of us sitting at the table, a crying Javi slowly drifting to sleep in James' arms. I could feel Kendall tensing next to me, so I scooted a little closer, holding his hand. He gave me a small smile in return.

"You're really 94?" I almost jerked back in surprise. Logan had been so quiet since Uncle Manuel and Aunt Gabriela were taken away, I nearly forgot he was there. I noticed the somber expression he had on, and the way his wings were drooping. It made me feel like crap. All of this Bonding stuff was supposed to be for Logie, and here we all were, focusing on everything but him. What kind of Soul Mates were we?

"Yes, I am. Our people have incredibly long lifespans, Akayo. My parents alone have lived longer than this country has been independent of England's rule." I almost lost track when James called Logie by his original name. It was really weird hearing it, especially when it was being used to refer to the boy I had grown up with having a human name. I didn't think I'd ever get used to it.

"But then what about…" Logan looked over at me and Kendall out of the corner of his eye. He just learned he'd live for hundreds of years, maybe more, and he's worried about us? His selflessness was another blow to my guilt gland. Why hadn't I been more concerned with Logan?

"They will too. There's a simple ceremony they will have to undergo in The Temple that will bind their lives to ours. There is still a chance that they might pass before we do, but it rarely happens. Please, do not worry about death and loss, my Love. Right now we should be celebrating! You've been found, our Family is already complete, with only one Bond still needing to be established, your cousin is safe from his parents. Today is a happy day!" He flashed his brilliant smile at us in an attempt to lighten the mood. I think it would have worked if Logan wasn't all depressed, Kendall wasn't hurt, and I didn't feel guilty. "Please smile. All of you. I cannot bear to see my Family hurting like this."

"How can we? Yesterday, our lives were great! Then you came along and ruined everything! I don't know where any of us stand as far as relationships or love, but I know that I want you gone! All of this heartache and grief is your fault!" Logan jerked his head towards Kendall in shock. I just gaped.

"Kendall, what's the matter with you? How could you say that? You know he can't control any of this, and neither can I!" Logan was quickly turning beet red, which was never a good sign. What worried me more was the way his eyes started changing colors, like they did earlier. His irises turned gold, with a thin ring of shocking green around the pupils, and the whites turned Black. "Why don't you just go-"

"Akayo!" Logan turned to James with a start, his eyes changing back to normal. "Please, don't be angry with Kendall. He is correct. If I hadn't come, much of this would not have happened." He held up a hand to stop Logan before he could interrupt. "But the fact is, I did come, and we will have to live with the consequences. But they don't have to be bad consequences. There's no need to fight amongst ourselves as to who gets who, or who is left alone and heartbroken. We are a Family! As the Dominant in this Family, I'm telling you to start acting like it!" This time, it was James' eyes that changed, but not like they did before. This time, they simply flashed all white for half a second before returning to their normal Hazel color.

Suddenly, it was like all of the tension and angst was gone. I wasn't worried about Kendall being with Logan, or James being with Kendall, or Logan being with James. It was like, I stopped viewing the situation as which couples would pull through this. Instead, I saw it the way it was meant to be: All four of us, together. No fighting, no jealousy, no pain. Just love, happiness, bliss. My vision started going all wacky, like it did just before I kissed Kendall. I could see something on the surface of the table between us.

A white, mist-like substance was hiding it, but I could see the four of us lying together, naked as the day we were born. Logan was at the center, my left arm cradling him against my chest, with his head on my right arm. Kendall was pressed against his back, wrapping his arms around Logie's middle, his feet intertwined with mine. James was behind Kendall, his long arms surrounding all of us, his right hand on my back, his left reaching up and around our heads to hold my right hand, the same arm that Logan was using as a pillow.

I couldn't hold back the gasp that escaped my lips, my heart suddenly aching for that vision to become real. I wanted that for us, so badly it hurt deep in my chest. My cheeks felt wet, but I wasn't sure if I was crying or not. Before I could stop it, everything started going dark, my sight completely shrouded just before I hit the ground.


Huren POV

"What do you mean, you're calling them home? Our baby is still out there, Yakolam! Helpless, alone, maybe dying, and you want to call off the search?!" Tears cascaded down my cheeks, my heart aching beyond belief knowing my Dominant wanted to give up on our baby, our precious little Akayo.

"Huren-ga, it has been a month. The trail is colder than ice. The only way we could find him now would be if we happened to stumble across him, through sheer luck! You know how many Humans there are. You know the odds that there are thousands of other infants that could look exactly like him." I saw red.

"Are you suggesting that I would not recognize my own child when I saw him?! That I would mistake him for some human baby?! How dare you! I thought you were on my side!" My eyes were burning, and it was not from the stream of tears still running down my face. No, this burn was my Setar begging to be unleashed, wanting to make others experience the pain I felt.

"I am always on your side, and I know you will always be able to set him apart. But the rest of our people might not. Moya could find him if he was older, but the Pull is not yet strong enough to show him where our child is without him being within a mile from him. You cannot possibly ask him to scour the Earth, mile by mile until Akayo is found! He could be moving, maybe not of his own power, but moving nonetheless. Moya wants him home just as badly as we do, my Love. There is simply no reliable method we could employ to find him before his Inheritance."

"But that won't be for another 15 years! I can't go that long without my baby, Yakolam. Not 'I won't,' but 'I can't.' I want him home! Now!" I could feel my body trembling in exhaustion. I had barely slept more than an hour a day since Akayo had been taken, and I doubted that would change anytime soon. Yakolam glared at my shaking limbs.

"You didn't sleep last night, did you?" I looked down in shame.

"How can I? This guilt is destroying me, Yakolam-gan. I let him be taken, from right under my nose!" I wanted to break down, to collapse in my lover's arms and cry until I fell into sleep's comforting embrace. But I could not. My body would not relax its tense stance. Yakolam pulled me to his chest, holding my head to his bare chest, releasing calming pheromones into the air. I couldn't stop my legs from finally giving out from under me, Yakolam keeping me up with his strong arms.

"It was not any fault of yours, nor mine, or anyone's but the thief's. He will be punished most severely for his crime, I swear this to you. But our men our exhausted and their families ache for them to return home. I beg of you, Huren, allow me to call off the search. Let them come home. Let them rest. Allow yourself to rest. Not sleeping as you have been is not good for our son." He sat us down on a lounge, reaching around my body to cup my slightly rounded belly. "Will you let your grief for one lost son destroy your second? Would you let this child here, in your belly, suffer from poor care, because you did not focus on him as you are Akayo?" Sobs broke free of my lips at this, more guilt consuming me.

"N-no. But what if I let something horrible befall him as well?" He pulled me closer to him.

"I will not allow it. We will up the patrols around the city. No one shall enter or exit without being checked. But Huren, I will not allow you to restrict our child's freedoms because you fear for his safety. He will be protected, but not suffocated. I won't have him resenting us for it." I wanted to protest. I wanted to scream and shout that he would be within my sight at all times, that he would never be alone, not even for a second. But a more rational side of me, a part of me that was focused on continuing on with life, unclouded by grief over Akayo's abduction, told me that Yakolam was right.

"I know… but I cannot stop myself from being terrified that this might happen again." There was a soft knock on the door, followed by a momentary pause before my Mark and Mour'pare peeked in.

"Is he-"


Carlos POV

"Is he awake?" I heard somebody say.

"He's coming around. Give him some space." That voice… that was Mama. I opened my eyes, only to close them again and groan. Of course, the light right above me was on. Turning my head to the side, I slowly reopened my eyes. Sitting next to me was Mama, concern clear on her face. Behind her was James, looking just as worried.

"What happened?" I went to sit up, but Mama pushed me back down.

"You fainted. Are you alright, Mijo? Do feel sick?" I shook my head, groaning when it started to hurt.

"No, not at all. I don't know what happened. One second, James is calming all of us down, and the next I'm having this weird dream." James stepped forward after I said that.

"Ma'am, might I have a moment alone with Carlos? I may be able to help determine the cause of his fainting spell." Mama looked like she wanted to disagree, but she just sighed and got up.

"Be careful with him." Was all she said before she left the room, closing the door behind her. It wasn't until then that I noticed that I was in my room.

"James, what happened? How did you… how did I… what?" I must have looked like somebody who had just played an intense game of Dizzy Bat.

"You fainted after I gave the Dominant's Command. I carried you here to your room while Kendall and Akayo fetched your parents. You were unconscious for the entire night. It's morning already." Mama wasn't there to stop me from jerking upright then.

"Morning?! I've got to get to school!" James kept me from getting out of bed by putting an arm on either side of me and leaning forward until I had to lie down to avoid being head-butted.

"School has been canceled today. For our Family, at least. I contacted some other members of The Guard last night after we had you settled in. They are at the school explaining our current situation." As much as I appreciated that he did that, I was more preoccupied with his shirtless form leaning over me. He really was gorgeous, and a certain part of me was reacting quite strongly to his proximity. A part of me that happened to nudge him in the stomach, making him look down, and making me realize that I was naked under the sheets. "I appear to be affecting you." He said with a smirk.

"I-it's just morning wood! You've got nothing to do-"

"I know that I am the cause, Carlos. You don't have to deny it. After all, I've already seen it." He winked salaciously at me, making me feel just that much harder.

"Wh-when would you have seen it?" I barely managed to whisper my question, feeling the blood rushing to my face. He leaned in close, his mouth right next to my ear.

"When I removed your clothing last night. I had to be sure you weren't injured. Although, imagine my surprise when I found a part of you that just doesn't match the rest of you in size." He leaned down even more, our chests touching, his arms still a cage on either side of my head. He pulled his head back just enough to look me in the eyes before he, quite passionately, kissed me.

I tackled him.


James POV

When I kissed Carlos, I knew it would be the final Bond formed between our Family and, as such, would have a more noticeable effect on us. I wasn't expecting to be shoved onto my back and kissed in such a way that made me, the Dominant of our Family, want to submit. Carlos was a beast, ravaging my mouth with his tongue, his lean body holding mine down. All I could do was wrap my arms around him and kiss back. I didn't manage to gain any ground. He was totally in control.

I was very aware that the only things separating our bodies from fully connecting were my jeans, which felt too tight, and a very thin, white sheet. When he brought his knees under him to gain more leverage, I managed to catch a glimpse of his rear. If it wasn't the most delicious looking rear I had ever seen, I don't know what was. Tan, perfectly rounded, looking perfectly delectable. I had to feel it, touch it, and have my wicked way with it. I was no sexual deviant, and had only rarely seen another's nude form, but his was divine! Perhaps the Bond was affecting me more than what I had already experienced, but he was making my blood pound out of control.

Mating pheromones were oozing off his skin, supercharging the air with lust. Our movements became frenzied, and the only air that seemed to satisfy my lungs was the air I was pulling from his mouth. We wouldn't have consummated our Bond, I know that for a fact, but I have no doubt that had we not been interrupted, something of a carnal nature would have come to pass.

"Looks like the boss is finally gettin' some!" Came a lewd voice from the doorway. Looking over, I saw my Second in command standing there, looking rather smug. Feeling oddly possessive of my lover's body, I let my wings emerge, pushing Carlos behind them to preserve his modesty.

"Quentus. What do you want?" He simply chuckled.

"Relax, you can take care of your blue balls in a minute. I'm just reporting on the meeting between me and the Principal." When I didn't respond, he continued. "She said that Carlos, Kendall, and His Royal Highness would be excused from school until further notice, with the condition that they make up any and all work they miss before the next school year begins."

"Is that all?" He nodded, still with that awful smirk of his. "Then go wait downstairs. Sylvia told me breakfast will be ready shortly."

"Okay." He stopped in the doorway, turning around just enough to throw in one last jab. "Try not to scream too much when he nails you." With a naughty wink, he vanished around the corner. I sighed in exasperation, the romantic mood completely destroyed.

"Who was that?" Carlos asked, snaking his arms under my own, hugging my chest from behind.

"Quentus, my Second in Command. He also goes by Dana. Yes, the same Dana that your mother met." Carlos seemed extremely surprised.

"I guess it's true that you stay youthful a long time too." He nuzzled his face right in between the junctures of my wings and my back, an extremely sensitive area for me. His gentle, loving touch caused a shudder to run down my body, and sharp gasp to pass my lips.

"Please, try to avoid touching me there, unless we are in the midst of an activity like the one in which we were so rudely interrupted by Quentus a moment ago." I could sense that he was smirking.

"Oh, so that's a hot spot for you, James?" The way he mewled my name brought some of the heat back into the air, but it was time that we talked about his earlier black out.

"Yes, but love, now is not the time. We need to talk about what happened to you." He let out a great, disappointed sigh, sinking back onto the bed. I stood and went to his dresser, rummaging through the drawers until I found some green boxers with the human symbol for 'recycle' on them, and some black, low-hanging sweatpants. I needed some clothing on him to stay focused, but I wasn't about to deny myself a good view of his obscenely luscious behind. Handing him the clothes, I settled myself into the desk chair his mother had occupied before she left.

"You didn't get me a shirt." I tried, but failed, to avert my eyes as he wiggled his way into the pants I grabbed for him. "And these sweats are a little too big. They're hanging half-off my butt."

"That was intentional. Your chest is much too exquisite to cover up, as is your rear end." The faintest pink blush colored his cheeks as he finally at down on the bed, most of him covered. "Now, describe what happened after I issued the Dominant's Command. And be as descriptive as you can."

"Well…" And as he went on to describe what happened, I could not stop my eyes from growing wider and wider until it felt as though they might fall out of my head. This couldn't be! It couldn't be possible, could it? This was unheard of, even among the greatest of the Gifted in our history. And he was a human! "…and then just when they started coming in, I woke up."

"Carlos, this is…" I could feel his panic rising when I didn't complete my thought. "It's nothing bad, Carl-"

"Yo, Boss man! Sylvia says if you two are gonna eat, you need to come down now, cause it's getting cold." I had to hold back a sigh of frustration when my Second interrupted yet again.

"You truly do not understand the concept of good and bad timing, Quentus." He merely shrugged.

"Eh, maybe it's on purpose. I might just be cock blocking you after all the years of you pulling me away from my Mate." That time, I did sigh.

"Fine, we're coming." I turned back to Carlos, a gentle smile crossing my face at the confused, partially scared, look on his face. "After you, Love." He just nodded and got up, walking right past Dana. I followed a little more slowly, grabbing my fellow Guard by the arm when he turned to leave. "Quentus, I have a request for you. It is most urgent."

"Yes, sir?" He must have sensed the need for seriousness in my voice, for no snarkiness tainted his voice.

"I need you to summon your Mate here. Maybe even the Laistro." His surprise was nearly tangible.

"The Laistro?! What could be so huge that he needs to come?" He followed my gaze down the hall towards the stairway. "Is it about…?" I nodded.

"Yes. It's about Carlos."


Kendall POV

Logan and I were sitting under the Oak tree in his back yard, snuggled close, enjoying the gentle breeze. Ever since James did…whatever he did the day before, everything had been so much smoother between everyone. Before, I was feeling so insecure, so jealous, so angry. I may seem confident to everyone, but at times… I'm not too sure of myself. So when Logan kissed James, and then Carlos, and then James again, well…

But that was done and over with. Sure, I was still a little awkward around James, but it was a lot easier than the disgust and, oddly, insane attraction I was dealing with before. Sure, I knew it wasn't his fault from the beginning, but that didn't keep me from blaming him. But now, it was all in the past, and I was looking towards the, hopefully happy, future I would share with the three men I could call mine.

I was snapped out of my thoughts by Logan's mumbled call. "Kendall?" I pulled him a little closer to me, enjoying the contact. But it felt like I was missing something.

"Yeah, Loges?"

"You stayed here last night. I just realized , your family is probably worried about you."

"Nah, they know that if I stay out all night, I'm probably here. It's when I don't come back by lunch the next day that they start to flip-" A thought struck me so suddenly, I knocked Logan over as I sat up in a panic. "Oh my god! My family!" Logan lifted his head from the grass, giving me an irritated look.

"What about them? Didn't you say that they wouldn't freak out until after lunchtime?"

"My family doesn't know! They don't know about ANY of this, and we're supposed to be going to your hometown soon!" How could I forget to tell my family? It wasn't that hard to pick up the phone and tell them the news. Granted, it would've been better to do it in person, probably with some sort of proof. "We've got to go tell them!" Logan finally seemed to understand just how much shit we were gonna be in.

"Oh crap!" Standing to his feet, his wings spread a little wider in his nervousness. I know they were supposed to be retractable, but James said something about not being able to put'em away for at least a week. Something about proper wing development or whatever. We ran inside, our shoes forgotten under the tree, almost crashing into the glass back door. Once inside, we crossed through the kitchen into the main hallway, only to be stopped by some guy hopping off of the stairs into our path.

"And just where do you think you're off to, your Highness? You need to be guarded, and no offence to your mate here, but he doesn't really look qualified to protect you." I looked down at him, not sure whether to be amused or insulted. He was short, smaller even than Carlos, and I doubted he could be over 14. He had milk-chocolate skin, curly black hair, and a thin, wiry sort of frame. His jeans were skin-tight, like James', and he had some weird shirt thing on that looked more like a toga mixed with a vest, leaving a part of his stomach exposed. He wasn't wearing any shoes, though knowing Carlos' mom, that might not be by choice.

"And you think you can, buddy? You look a little young to me." He just smirked.

"I'm old enough to be your Grandfather's grandfather, boy. Show a little respect. As for protection, I can do a lot better than you." Before I could do or say anything else, he was tackling me to the ground. Only, he was different. His body was bigger, covered with black hair. Muscles were bulging out, making him look even huger. Claws replaced his finger and toenails, and his hands and feet turned into paws. As soon as I got some air into my chest and the spots in my eyes stopped dancing, I looked up, only to see in place of his face, a lion's muzzle inches from my nose. I thought I was going to pee my pants.

"Quentus! That's enough!" The lion froze, morphing back into the boy in a second. He got up, leaving me to help myself, and turned to face James standing on the landing of the stairs. His entire body looked like it was radiating heat, anger burning behind his eyes, which looked like they did when he was about to use his Sutter, or whatever it was called. "Leave my Mark be, Quentus, or I assure you, not even your powers will be enough to save you."

"Hey, are you guys coming in here to eat, or am I gonna have to eat it all for you?" Carlos called from the door behind us. We all turned to look, and I thought my jaw was gonna hit the floor.

"Holy shit." Logan spoke for all of us. Carlos was wearing no shirt, no shoes, but I definitely wanted some of his service. I had never realized that under his hoodies and vests he had this kind of body going for him! His pecs stuck out, and his abs were more than clearly defined, leaving a small valley between them. Biceps and triceps were firm and thick. And though his sweat pants covered his legs, I was sure that they would be just as well-built as the rest of him.

"What? Did I get some honey on my chest? James, I told you I was gonna need a shirt!" No, he could keep his shirt off for as long as he wanted.

"No, Carlos, you spilled nothing on yourself."

"So why are Kendall and Logan staring at me?"


Me: Ugh, I feel like crap for taking so damn long with this update. But it's up, and chapter 7 is already started. So, that's that. Please review, they all mean so much to me!